Ballet Dictionary: Stretching
How: Before and after class and rehearsals, you will often find dancers warming up or cooling down. In both routines, dancers are always stretching their bodies, preparing their muscles for the day’s work or soothing their muscles at the end of the day. It is important that dancers stretch safely – dynamic stretches to warm up and static stretches to cool down. Dynamic stretches are stretches that are active – there is movement while you stretch. Static stretches are where you hold a stretch for a period of time while staying motionless. Dynamic stretches are ideal for warm-up as it actively engages the muscles while also improving the range of motion, thus warming up the muscles. Static stretches, held for around 10 to 0 seconds, can help you improve on overall flexibility. The stretch that the dancer is currently showing is a static stretch that you might see during a cool-down routine.
Tip: Breathing plays an important role in stretching both physically and mentally. It can be difficult to relax if you are breathing quickly so by focusing on your breath, it allows you to ease into your new range of motion.
Dancer: Sayaka Ishibashi, Company Artist, Ballet Manila
Location: Studio 3, Ballet Manila